Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Five Facts For Foreigners - Vol. II

Some additional pointers to keep you from being pointed out [or at]...

  1. If you happen to be here for Christmas, be sure to get your beauty sleep during the two days & nights prior to Christmas Eve. The traditional Christmas “dinner” is served at midnight on Christmas Eve, with partying and games to follow...

    It's something along the lines of Thanksgiving Dinner + Christmas Office Party (White Elephant Gift Exchange) + Rockin' New Year’s Eve + any or all of the following: Karaoke, Bingo, Card Games, Dancing, Masquerades, More Eating... That's a general idea of the itinerary, but you never know what Papai Noel (Santa Claus) has up his sleeve.

    edit: I forgot about the fireworks... lots of fireworks!

  2. When in Brazil, do yourself a favor and avoid our "A-Okay" gesture. (You know, the one that is completely innocuous in The States.) If inverted, it is worse than giving someone the middle finger... However, any semblance of this gesture may be frowned upon, so it's best to resort to the good ol' “thumbs up” which is used here for cool, great, thanks, good, super, go ahead, you rock, sure, okay, may I, etc.

  3. United States citizens: [Americans] don't try to explain why our nationality isn't "North American". (...or why Greenlanders, Canadians, Mexicans, Belizeans, Costa Ricans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, and Panamanians are all North Americans, too.)

    It's not that the geography classes are different here, it's that someone surmised at some point that United States citizens are pretentious elitists by laying claim to the term American, since there are 2 Americas: North & South...

    In actuality it is a political statement. What exactly that statement is alluding to remains to be seen. It's best just to refer to your state, to avoid unnecessary static... For example, I tell people I’m "Texan" (or "Tejana") – as opposed to saying American – because we could 'discuss' the finer points of geopolitical nonsense for hours on end, but who wants to do that on vacation, or otherwise?

  4. "Bife" (pronounced "Bee-fee") does not mean "Beef," although it runs in the same circles. There is "Bife de..." Pork or whatever cut of Beef you desire. However, bovines are divided differently than in The States, so you might want some clarification from a local before you order.

  5. What is Bife? It means "filet," although "filé" is only used with chicken ("filé de frango"), beef ("contra-filé" or "filé mignon") and fish (filé de merluza [Hake fish filet]) - never pork. Even though I know the name of certain cuts, I can still get it wrong on occasion.

    For example, the other day I got the Bife de Lombo. "Lombo" is the cut of meat along the top of the pig's back. There is also a "Contra-filé de Lombão" (a cut of beef sirloin) but it got all muddled in my little brain. I momentarily forgot that "bife" does not equal "beef." Needless to say, not knowing if something is beef or pork can be the deciding factor in a recipe breaker. Oops.

  6. Women: Here in Goiânia, the capital city of Goiás, there is no such thing as too much bling – be it at work, school, or out and about. Coming from the hippie capital city of Austin, Texas, it was quite a culture shock for me. (You Dallas ladies may fare better.)

    Dress like Morrissey meets Madonna: Everyday is Like Vogue, Vogue, Vogue, Vogue...

Next up: 5 Festa (Party) Facts For Foreigners

All images found on Google.

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